Saina, Nelson, Stack perform remarkable feat at Big 12 Championships


Aliphine Tuliamuk (left) and Betsy Saina race the final lap during the women’s 5,000-meter run during the indoor season. 

Stephen Koenigsfeld

After two days of fierce competition, the ISU women’s track team came home with a fourth-place finish of 76 points at the Big 12 Indoor Championships, tying the Baylor women.

Three ISU distance runners — Betsy Saina, Meaghan Nelson and Dani Stack — earned their team a total 42 points in only two events by themselves. Saina was crowned two-time 5,000-meter champion while Nelson finished third and Stack in fifth.

“Our women finished high and we are happy for that,” said coach Corey Ihmels in a news release. “We had some good performances. Betsy is running very confident right now. She is really fit and that shows.”

Up until the last two laps of the race, Natosha Rogers of Texas A&M and Saina had been jockeying for the first-place position. However, with two laps to go, Saina showed she had just a little more kick in her than Rogers.

“I tried a couple times to pass her, but I decided to wait a little longer before taking the lead again,” Saina said in a news release.

Nelson said it is definitely easier to run when half of the competitors in the field are her teammates.

“The fact that we have four girls in the top eight and we have a lot of people competing at that high of level, it just helps boost your confidence,” Nelson told

Stack said there was no real strategy this weekend when all three runners finished first, third and fifth in both the 5,000- and 3,000-meter runs.

“We were all kind of expecting that,” Stack told “We all wanted to be in the top five, and we accomplished that. Whether or not we got the times we wanted to be, we were expecting to be up in the front.”

Members of a cross-country team that placed seventh at nationals this year are more than content with their performances this weekend but have outdoor track to focus on now.

“We have some more things to accomplish than the Big 12 [competition] and track as a full, and I don’t see us getting any slower,” Stack told